Although lamb has become the staple dish for Easter, it can be enjoyed any day of the week. Lamb can be cooked in several ways, including threading it onto skewers and grilling it, making stews, burgers, meatballs, or kabobs.
While many flavors, such as herbs and spices, complement lamb, the same cannot be said for wine. Unfortunately, lamb cannot be paired with any wine, so you must carefully consider what type of wine would be best for lamb.
What To Consider When Pairing Lamb Wine?
Lamb is often described as a mix between beef and game. Lamb is tender and delicious. However, it does have a fatty element that needs to be considered when pairing lamb with wine.
You must also consider the type of wine, lamb, seasonings, herbs, and sauce served with the lamb.
Usually, people wine with the dish once it’s been prepared. However, in the case of lamb, you should start thinking about the pairing before you pair the wine.
Starting with the wine allows you to think about which lamb dish suits the wine’s flavor best. For example, if you cook a roasted rack of lamb, Cru Beaujolais, or a rich Semillon white wine is the perfect pairing.
Type of Lamb
The cut of lamb you are preparing also affects the wine pairing. For example, if you cook lamb shank, which is meaty and moist, a rich medium to full-bodied red wine is best.
However, a light-bodied red or white wine is best if you are preparing lean cuts such as the leg or breast.
The cooking method can also affect the wine pairing. If you are serving a mild, delicate dish such as lamb loin with a temperature of rare or medium-rare, it’s best to serve it with a complex white wine or light rose.
In contrast, aged red wine is best if you are serving roasted or smoked lamb at a medium, medium-well, or well-done temperature.
Herbs and spices must also be considered when pairing lamb with wine. Certain herbs can easily overpower the wine and vice versa. For example, if you season your lamb with basil or rosemary, earthy, herbaceous wine is best.
Does Red or White Wine Go With Lamb Chops?
When it comes to lamb, red wine is the ultimate pairing. Red wines such as Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Bordeaux pair really well with lamb.
However, this does not mean you cannot serve lamb with white wine. Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer pair beautifully with wine.
What Wine Pairs With Lamb Chops?
You cannot pick up a random bottle of wine and expect to have the ultimate pairing. The best wine pairings for lamb are acidic and medium to full-bodied.
Lamb and Bordeaux is a stellar and popular pairing. Bordeaux is a blend of red grapes, including Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Bordeaux is a medium to full-bodied wine with medium acidity. Pair Bordeaux wine with herb-roasted lamb.
The wine has a complex flavor and aroma profile, including black cherry, licorice, cassis, spice, vanilla, and coffee bean.
The tannic Bordeaux wine cuts through the rich fatty flavor of the lamb and complements the herbs beautifully.
Tender cuts of lamb, such as the loin, need a wine that will not outshine the meat’s delicate flavor and tender texture.
This is why full-bodied red wines should never be served with tender cuts of lime. The rich red wine will overpower the lamb’s flavor.
However, Pinot Noir produced in cooler climates is best. This type of Pinot Noir has a red berry flavor and earthy tones, which balance out the wine’s flavor.
The acidity and flavor of the wine give the lamb a fruity flare and cleanse your palate.
Although Rosé wine is often overlooked when pairing lamb with wine, it is an excellent choice. Rose is light and has a mild flavor that refreshes and cleans your palate after taking a bite of lamb.
Chianti comes from a province in Tuscany, Italy. Chianti is a radiant acidic red wine produced from Sangiovese Grapes.
The acidic nature of Chianti pairs best with dense dishes such as braised lamb shoulder. The acidity prevents the heavy dishes from overwhelming your palette.
Syrah is one of France’s popular wines. The notes of blackberries and blueberries, along with earthy dried herbs, tobacco, and pepper, pair perfectly with a toasted leg of lamb and roasted vegetables.
The fruity notes provide a nice contrast to the savory lamb and roasted vegetables.
Rioja is a Spanish wine often made from Tempranillo and Garnacha grapes. The Tempranillo grapes add a bright acidity to the Rioja wine, while the Garnacha grapes create a fruity flavor.
Rioja is best paired with lamb shanks. Lamb shanks are fatty, so the acidity cuts through the rich flavor while the fruitiness compliments the savory flavor perfectly.
Cabernet Franc belongs to the Bordeaux family, so it is an excellent pairing for lamb. Cabernet Franc has a luxurious herbaceous flavor that gives the lamb an added depth of flavor.
Therefore, the rich flavor of braised lamb with vegetables is the perfect pairing for Cabernet Franc.
Malbec is another stellar pairing for lamb. Malbec is a full-bodied red wine.
The dominant flavors include plum, blackberry, and black cherry. However, the secondary flavors can range from cocoa powder, violet, leather, chocolate, and tobacco based on how long it is aged in oak barrels.
Since Malbec is not as tannic as Cabernet Sauvignon, it has a smooth texture and refreshes the palette.
Red Zinfandel has a rich, fruity profile with a hint of spice that is perfect for crusty yet tender, perfectly seared lamb chops.
The radiant soft tannins and medium body also pair well with lamb chops paired with fruity sauces.
Riesling is the ultimate white wine pairing for white wine. Riesling is famous for its sweet yet acidic profile. Therefore, it creates a refreshing taste when paired with fatty, rich lamb.
When pairing wine with lamb, you must be extremely careful. Luckily you now have the best wine and lamb pairings, so feel free to experiment with the wines included in the list until you find the pairing that works for you.